Insightful article by Mary Juetten on the question of whether women-only groups help or hurt. Thanks, Mary, for shining the light on this issue. http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/blog/techflash/2015/07/do-we-still-need-women-only-events-and-panels.html?ana
Having co-founded the CLUB (the Women's CLUB of Silicon Valley) a few years back, I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about this question and asking men and women about it. After hearing a mix of opinions (one of the benefits of not talking just with one gender), I came to the conclusion that both are important. Women need space where they can build confidence and skills, show vulnerability and get support without being judged in the workplace, and help each other see and realize the potential we each have (which we tend to undersell, often hurting ourselves when it comes to promotions). This type of support and growth flourishes in women's organizations and helps us advance our internal development faster.
But, without bringing men into the conversation, we will make very slow and minimal progress in balancing out our workplaces. There are many sides to every issue (not every man shares the same view, nor every woman) and the more we discuss and listen to each others' perspectives on gender issues (as well as race, sexual orientation, etc.), the faster we will see the progress that will make our workplaces and society better places.
Glad this conversation is happening!